As a young boy, I used to race out to my mailbox every day during long, humid summers in Virginia, looking for what would become a nostalgic part of my childhood. It came only once a month, sometimes wrapped in plastic, sometimes rolled in a tube and pressed up against the inside of the metal mailbox, and still, other times, with a surprise inside. I used to log into my account and track the package to see when it would arrive. Each early delivery was a present, and every late delivery as annoying as a package delivered in four days on two-day shipping. That large part of my childhood was Nintendo Power magazine.
It’s safe to say that Nintendo Power magazine was an integral part of my childhood, as I suspect it was for many now-adult Nintendo fans. Its sense of community, coupled with witty commentary, a brilliant writing staff, and child-like love for Nintendo made them stand out among stark, AAA-focused competitors. It’s been a long five years since Nintendo Power was discontinued, and it has felt even longer. With magazines, as a form of media, steadily dropping, hope for another magazine like Nintendo Power didn’t seem warranted. That is until I learned about Nintendo Switch Network Magazine, a free-to-read digital and print magazine that has peaked my interest.
I recently talked with NSN Magazine‘s founder, Austin H., and asked him a few questions about NSN, the state of the industry, and what motivates him.
1.) What inspired you to begin work on NSN Magazine?
I’ve been a gamer pretty much my whole life. I started off with the Sega Genesis and I never stopped. As I got older I also got interested in the press side of the gaming industry. When the PS Vita launched, I built up a whole website dedicated to gaming reviews and news. The website was very successful and I made some amazing contacts with several large gaming companies. I was very blessed, but eventually I started running out of time for the site. I was a one man team and I couldn’t keep up with the demand of the site and reviews. With college and work getting in the way I sadly had to disband the site. There was not enough income coming in to sustain the website. Moving on to the teased announcement of the Nintendo NX. I have since finished my college degree and have received some more free time for my crazy projects. I was SO hyped for this brand new Nintendo console. After the first teaser trailer was released, I could not contain my excitement. The passion was there and I knew the console had potential. So, I decided I wanted to jump in and help build the hype with a console specific fan/news site. After building up a team of 6 writers/editors I knew we were set up for success. I wanted to create something unique this time around, so we began planning out a magazine. I had always wanted to create my own magazine so it just felt right. After some crazy hard work here we are two magazine releases later.
2.) To be honest, especially with all of the community involvement, NSN Magazine reminds me of Nintendo Power. Did you ever subscribe to Nintendo Power?
Sadly, I was never subscribed to Nintendo Power. Some of our writers were subscribed to it though, and they all loved it. I guess you could say the team members helped push in some of the Nintendo Power vibe. Our community involvement is very important though. I think it is what helps us stand out the most.
3.) What does the money pledged to your Patreon go to?
All money pledged goes directly into the site/magazine funding. We are currently actually losing money so my personal money is also going into the site/magazine. All of our writers are also volunteers so they don’t receive anything except for review products and games. I would eventually hope to build up enough to compensate our writers for all their hard work, but that will come with time. Printing, shipping, and designing the magazine takes A LOT of money and time so it is not a cheap process.
4.) Why do you decide to release the digital version of NSN Magazine free every month?
Not everyone can afford to pay for a magazine every month. So, if we made everyone pay then only a portion of the community would have access to this awesome magazine. Digitally does not cost us anything really, so I have no issues keeping this free for the community.
5.) What challenges does the magazine format present, especially with how quickly the Internet allows news to spread?
It’s hard. In the last issue we had a whole section devoted to the launch lineup, and after we sent it off for printing several of the launch titles were delayed leaving us with incorrect information. The goal of the magazine though is to capture news from a specific time in the Switch’s life. It will never beat the speed of news spreading across the internet, but it allows us to capture news in a print format for looking back at later.
6.) What was your first Nintendo console, and how did owning that console shape your opinion of Nintendo?
Gameboy Color! I owned the silver Pokémon edition. I loved that Gameboy Color. Nintendo has kept the same vibe going for a long time. Nintendo has almost always been geared towards the younger audience, but with the Switch they have stepped things up it seems. It’s like Nintendo has grown up. I’ve always enjoyed the family friendly vibe Nintendo has had though.
7.) What was behind your decision to include interviews with YouTube creators in NSN Magazine?
We are very community oriented so it only made sense to include interviews with YouTube content creators within the industry. We were lucky enough to get several large YouTubers on board. We’ve also got another planned for the next issue.
8.) Do you believe that Nintendo’s struggles with supply are the result of poor supply allocation or simply a desire to increase demand?
Honestly, I’m torn on this. It takes time to produce consoles on such a mass scale so it is definitely possible Nintendo just can’t keep up with the demand. Nintendo does not really benefit over people paying $600+ online for a Nintendo Switch.
9.) The cover art for Issue #2 was done quite well. Who does the cover art?
We use someone new from the community for every issue of our magazine. The last cover was done by a friend of ours who can be found at @inkopolis on Twitter. The next cover looks just as good!
10.) Given the degree to which Nintendo’s future is riding on the Switch, are you optimistic or pessimistic about their future?
I am very optimistic about their future. They have tons of content lined up and spaced out very well. They know they need future games to keep the console hype rolling and it seems they are doing just that. This does not seem like another Wii U.
11.) Finally, as an aside, what is your favorite beverage?
Arizona Tea! In fact, if there is an Arizona Tea rep reading this interview then please reach out to me. I could use a Arizona Tea sponsorship.
Arizona Tea sponsorship aside, I’ve been impressed with NSN Magazine and the work that is put into this publication, especially as an upstart in a crowded market. The professional look and feel of the magazine, coupled with free digital releases each month, have made me appreciate the hard work that Austin, and his staff, have put into these issues. Appealing artwork, interesting articles, and a bevy of concise information make NSN Magazine a must-have for passionate Nintendo fans. If they continue this level of quality and get the exposure that they need, success may be just over the horizon. If you were ever as big a fan of Nintendo Power as I was, you owe it to yourself to give this magazine a look; it is well worth your time.
NSN Magazine’s Patreon can be found at https://www.patreon.com/NintendoSwitchNetwork